herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Abortion law doesn't go far enough – poll

A SIGNIFICANT 90pc of Irish people believe that the country's new abortion laws don't go far enough.

Nine out of 10 people say that abortion should be made legal in cases of fatal foetal abnormality or rape, according to a new poll.

The new abortion legislation, which was passed into law last month, allows for terminations where there is a real and substantial threat to the life of the mother.

But there is no option for women who are carrying babies with a foetal abnormality or for those who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

A poll carried out by irishhealth.com, however, showed that 91pc of those who responded were in favour of extending the legislation to cover the other categories.

Such a change would probably require a constitutional amendment, which is not expected in the near future.

The Irish College of General Practitioners, at its recent AGM, also voted narrowly in favour of the legalisation of abortion in cases of non-viable foetal abnormalities.

Doctors did vote against legalising abortion for pregnancy following rape or incest.

More than 600 people responded to the poll, of whom 91pc were in favour, 7pc against and 2pc undecided.

The results of the poll come in a week when a priest member of the Board of Governors of the Mater Hospital said the hospital would not be able to comply with the new law because of its ethos.

An official spokesman for the hospital, however, said the board would be considering the issue at a meeting in a few weeks time and said that this was the personal view of the priest Fr Kevin Doran.

Pregnant

The Mater Hospital is one of the 25 'appropriate institutions' named in the Act where abortions may be carried out to save the life of a pregnant woman.

Since Ireland introduced the new Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act last month, Malta is now the only European country without a life-saving abortion law.

In Malta, abortion is completely banned.

Women found to be having abortions face 18 months to three years in prison.

csheehy@herald.ie

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